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ORLANDO-Without explanation, Seattle-based Nordstrom is pushing back its previously scheduled 2002 opening at the Florida Mall here to 2003. The retailer previously said it is shelving expansion plans in Pittsburgh and Cincinnati. (Please see related story on Charlotte city page.)

Nordstrom’s one-year delay is expected to hurt the 1.1 million-sf Florida Mall near Orlando International Airport where the retailer was to have been one of seven anchors, along with Saks Fifth Avenue and Burdines. The Florida Mall caters heavily to customers arriving daily from South America who may split their business with the 1.3 million-sf Millenia Mall scheduled to open five miles away in 2003, some industry analysts say.

Millenia’s anchors are Bloomingdales, Macy’s and Neiman Marcus, a tough backfield to face, analysts say. Nordstrom opened its first Florida store this month in Boca Raton, FL, 200 miles south of Downtown Orlando. Other Florida stores are planned in Tampa, 2001 and in Coral Gables, 2002.

Nordstrom still plans to open a total five stores nationally in 2001 and 10 stores each in 2002 and 2003. The retailer restructured its corporate staff in August after sagging mid-year sales.

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